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Hebrew University scientists reveal mechanism that triggers differentiation of embryo cells
Date:12/22/2008

ves turning off a large set of genes so that they remain locked for the entire lifetime of the organism, thereby unable to activate any further cell flexibility.

Their studies shed light not only on this central process, but also can have consequences for medical treatment. One of the biggest challenges today is to generate new tissues for replacing damaged cells in a variety of different diseases, such as Parkinson's disease or diabetes. Many efforts have been aimed at "reprogramming" readily-available adult cells, but scientists have discovered that it is almost impossible to do this, mainly because normal tissues are locked in their fixed program and have lost their ability to convert back to fully potent, flexible, embryonic cells.

Now, with the new information discovered by Bergman and Cedar, the molecular program that is responsible for turning off cell flexibility has been identified, and this may clear the way towards developing new approaches to program cells in a controlled and specific manner.


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Contact: Jerry Barach
jerryb@savion.huji.ac.il
972-258-82904
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Source:Eurekalert

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